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Reproductive biology of Philodryas olfersii (Serpentes, Dipsadidae) in a subtropical region of Brazil

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We studied the reproductive biology of a subtropical population of Philodryas olfersii through the analysis of 263 museum specimens. Females were found to have larger bodies with males having longer tails. Testicular volume has a tendency to decrease in colder months but histological analyses are still needed to validate the macroscopic evidence. In females, secondary follicles were found throughout the year but ovulation was restricted to three months during the warmer period. Clutch size was correlated with female size and varied between 4 and 11 eggs, with a mean relative clutch mass of 0.187. Ovigerous females frequently also presented secondary follicles, and potential fecundity was significantly higher than real fecundity. We suggest that estimates of clutch size based on the number of vitellogenic follicles may be inappropriate. In addition, although some patterns of the reproductive biology of Philodryas olfersii were similar to other members of the tribe Philodryadini, we found important differences such as shorter reproductive season of females, indicating that phylogenetical traits and environmental conditions influence aspects of the life history of the species.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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